To Toronto! Really? Why not? Why not take a weekend and head to Toronto. When is the last time you have gone and just done what we don’t often do in our own cities and hang out? There is a lot to see in our neighboring city and it is easy to get there by car, train, or plane.
On a recent visit to Toronto to look for our next Etiket location, (yes we are expanding!) we explored Queen Street West and what started as a trip to visit a store we have so heard much about, Jacob & Sebastian, we decided to continue on and discovered that there is a lot more to do and see than we thought! We wanted to pass on what we found for your next visit to TO!
It all seems to start at Bathurst and Queen and that is where we found Joel from Jacob & Sebastian minding his stunning store. We of course love the store because they carry some of the same brands we do (GOA by Rodrigo Diaz, Malin+ Goetz, Rahua and Tata Harper) and we found a few, okay a lot (!) of other things that we loved too. Joel was more than welcoming and we are excited to hear that he has another store opening soon in the Distillery District. A MUST next time you are there!
Jacob & Sebastian
622 Queen Street W.
647 345 0478
When you need to stop for a coffee, and you will, remember, you came to Toronto to hang out and take it easy, drop in to R2Cafe. Staff is more than friendly, lite bites were excellent, and the sun shining through the front window makes their perfect cappuccinos just that much more perfect.
668 Queen Street W.
R2Cafe on Facebook
There definitely is a strong menswear presence on this street so guys take note and girls, bring them along or better yet go alone, shop, and bring them home all that is needed to give them that make-over you have been longing for. From all the shops we stopped into, there is one thing you can be sure of; any guy is going to come back to Montreal looking cooler than when he arrived.
We think it might have been the sign in the window about “Getting your Glam on” but once we went into the bespoke Green Shag Clothiers we fell in love with everything from the cufflinks (phallic symbols from all across the world), the perfect caps made with the Canadian tartan developed for Expo ’67 (Montreal keeps having its influence along the way you will see) to Victoria who was quick to offer us a cup of tea and tell us about the street and her start in Vancouver doing custom-made menswear before settling here to outfit the cooler dudes of Toronto. It was too busy on our first stop in, but we did go back to pick up a cap. How could we resist! You also must check out the jewelry by award winning jewelry designer Ibai Demirdache.
670 Queen Street West
When we went into the Penguin store, the first and only in Canada, we didn’t know what was cooler, the clothes or the guys that worked there. Of course it is all about the Penguin and the polos may be the top sellers but we found way more that had us asking: When are you opening in Montreal?
700 Queen Street W.
If you are around for lunch there are a few options but Terroni is an old standby and a favourite each time we go to Toronto.
720 Queen Street West
We went into Ben Sherman thinking that we would only see shirts, their claim to fame at one point and did we find more! We think it was the duffle coat that had us lingering the longest, or was it the sales guy in the cool hat? Either way, being the only Ben Sherman store in Canada had us asking once….what about us!
734 Queen Street W.
It was the iPhone case in luggage that caught our eye in the window and then the O’clock watches from Italy that made us stay. There is a lot to see in this place and Zane is there to help you take you through and show you the newest and the latest. The selection of accessories and handbags just might keep you here a little longer than you planned.
753 Queen Street
From London to Toronto, we fell in love with the shirts at Simon Carter. He may have started by designing pewter jewelery in London and we did covet ALL of the cufflinks, watches and accessories but at the end of he day it was the shirts that had us happy for the menswear trend on the runways this year.
754 Queen W.
We couldn’t stop but stare when we saw Nadège on the corner of Queen & Gore Vale Avenue right across from the Trinity Bellwoods Park that seems to be a place for wedding photos even in chilly November. Nadège’s pristine whiteness is only enhanced by the colour of the incredible pastries inside. Stop. Stare. Do it!
780 Queen Street W.
Queen Street West is such a mix, from green grocers to music shops to interior design. We fell in love with Quasi Modo, it was the lights in the window that did it. If you are looking for that perfect designer piece to finish off that room, we are sure you will find it here!
789 Queen Street W.
The menswear didn’t stop there though. Cooler than cool? Nomad. We had a choice of hats (toques we were told) that would get us ready for any Montreal winter. Of course there was way more than that. Denim to cargos to candles to shaving to shoes to scarves to….you get the idea don’t you?
819 Queen Street W.
Even though we didn’t think a bottle of olive oil would be the best thing to check in our luggage for our flight home, we couldn’t resist going into The Spice Trader. As soon as you open the door you are taken away to an exotic market filled with the incredible aromas of the spices on offer. The gorgeous store is lined with olive oil and spices and more salt than you can throw over your shoulder. We met Allison Johnston, an ex- Montréaler (no wonder the store is so fabulous!) who talked to us of Queen West and how it reminded her of St. Laurent with the mix of new and old and hip and not so hip. She hit the nail on the head and we do hope that a few of the stores here decide to move to our own city.
The Spice Trader
877 Queen Street W.
Of course you need a cupcake break. Isn’t that part of any shopping trip these days? It was a tough decision between the Red Velvet and the good old standard ‘white’ (a favourite) and of course we opted for both….and yes, they were Dlish!
833 Queen Street W.
Almost at the end of where all the shops are we found Art. 27 filled with certified organic products from around the world – skincare, cosmetics and soaps with some clothing as part of the mix. We didn’t get a chance to meet Camelia, she was helping a client through one of the all natural lines, but we heard from our new friend Victoria at Green Shag that she is divine.
899 Queen Street W.
We will let you in on a little secret, we have a bit of a fetish for paper stores. When we found Paper Place we didn’t know where to begin. The cards? The papers? The journals? The books? The Gifts? Of course we love Nota Bene in Montreal on Parc Avenue but it’s always fun to see someone else’s interpretation of the art of paper and all that goes with it.
The Paper Place
887 Queen Street W.
We know we missed some places (like Capsule Music for one!) but I think we gave you an idea of what we thought was different from what we find in Montreal. Not better, just different. Let us know what you think if you visit any of these suggestions and don’t be shy to tell them we sent you!
Not on Queen Street West but where we ate in Toronto and loved:
1214 Dundas Street W.
180 Queen Street W.
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle